Carmen and Wayne Colson live a quiet, suburban life. Carmen (Diane Lane) is a realtor while Wayne (Thomas Jane) is an ironworker. Suddenly everything is violently changed when they stumble upon an extortion plot hatched by two crooks, Armand "Blackbird" (Mickey Rourke) Degas and his partner Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt
). While Richie is unstable and impatient, the Blackbird is calm and collected. After Wayne forces the two away with a Sleever Bar, the criminals decide to exact vengeance on the Colsons…
Based on a 1989 book.
This film provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Blackbird. When he's not on duty he's a somewhat easy fellow to get along with. Even when he has a reason to kill he's fairly conservative.
- All Men Are Perverts: Subverted. The mafia girl at the beginning thinks the Professional Killer Blackbird, after finishing his job killing someone else that she was aware of, disturbs her while she's showering because he very blatantly wants to sneak a peek. Instead he shoots her in the head for having seen his face.
- Badass Boast: Done by Blackbird to Richie. Doesn't come off nearly as intimidating here as in the film.
Blackbird: I shoot people. Sometimes for money, sometimes for nothing.
- Book Ends: The opening and closing lines of are both Blackbird reciting/narrating the set of rules that he lives by as a contract killer, albeit in truncated form the second time around.
Blackbird: You gotta know what you're doing when you go in. You gotta have it figured out. Those are the rules. How you get in, how you get out. How many shots you're gonna need. Make sure you know where everybody is. Make sure nobody sees you. Don't hang around. Don't get interested. And you don't make mistakes.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Richie kills Donna in a fit of jealous rage, which Blackbird later kills him for in turn. Discussed:
Blackbird: I'm not like Richie. I'm not the same as him.
- Face Death with Dignity: The old man Blackbird kills at the beginning calmly accepts his murder, but requests he be allowed to put some clothes on first. Blackbird obliges.
- Faux Affably Evil: Richie. Unlike the more calm and reserved Blackbird, Richie is playful and generally puts on a humorously cheerful front. This is all because he's utterly a perverted sadist and has no sense of nobility using killing as fun and game.
- Leave No Witnesses: Blackbird has a policy of killing anyone who sees his face during his kills. This comes back to bite him when he is hired by the mafia to kill an old criminal but goes off-plan by also killing the girl who let him in and could identify him. The pissed off mob boss puts a prize on Blackbird's head because the girl was his mistress.
- Mugging the Monster: Richie, a fancy-talking hoodlum and wannabe Badass decides to steal the cadillac of a middle-aged man (Blackbird) who looks dressed like a modern-day cowboy after the man grabbed a bite at a cheap diner. After driving around for a while at gunpoint they park the car somewhere, and Richie peruses through Blackbird's wallet. Then Blackbird shoves a gun in Richie's face and reveals that he's a contract killer. Interestingly he doesn't kill Richie, but hangs around with him for the remainder of the film.
- Noble Demon: Blackbird.
- Professional Killer: Blackbird.
- What Could Have Been: John Travolta, Viggo Mortensen, and Justin Timberlake were originally attached to play Mickey Rourke's, Thomas Jane's, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's roles.